Startups to watch

Startups To Watch: Bearable

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Chris Apostolou

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Here at Work In Startups, we’re on a mission to champion the best and most exciting startups in the UK. To support this, we’re starting a new blog series highlighting some of the most innovative and fast-growing startups around. Follow us as we interview startup founders and employees across the country and find out more about their goals and ambitions, what the future holds and (for all you startup jobseekers out there looking for the inside scoop) what they look for in a prospective employee.

This week we talked to James the founder of a handy app that has the potential to change your life. Putting all facets of your wellbeing under one app, making keeping track and communicating with your doctors a breeze.

Tell us about Bearable! How did it all start and what are your goals?

When I was dealing with my own health issues a few years ago, I became tired of being sent from consultant to consultant to diagnose me, frustrated that I was not able to give them a clear, overall picture of my health for the last few weeks or months. I started tracking things in a spreadsheet, which was useful, but not convenient, and it was not easy to gain insights from this mass of data or send reports to doctors.

I searched for a mobile app to track my symptoms, but many of these seemed limited in customisability, and felt cold and clinical to use, it was almost like filling in a medical form, so hardly enjoyable to use regularly. There was nothing seemingly built around the patient.
On top of this, I didn’t want to have to use 6 different apps to track my symptoms, diet, medication, mood sleep and exercise. Not only is this overwhelming, but why would I want to keep all these things in separate apps when each can impact one another?

So I set out to make a mobile app which helped people with chronic conditions to keep all health tracking in one place. By doing so they could not only come more prepared to doctor/therapist appointments, but could also gain unique insights as to how their mood and symptoms are affected by their daily activities and health factors such as medication, exercise, diet, sleep, and even their social life.

Most importantly it is built around the patient, so we have made it as intuitive, customisable and user-friendly as possible. It ultimately needs to be enjoyable to use if someone is to make it a daily habit.

What are your values as an ambitious startup?

I want to empower people to feel more in control of their health conditions. Studies have shown better outcomes for that patients who are more actively involved in tracking and managing their health conditions.
This could also potentially yield efficiency savings for countries’ health systems through more personalised commissioning and supporting people to stay well and manage their own conditions better.
Privacy is also incredibly important to us, hence why we don’t ask for lots of personal information like other apps – only their e-mail address. All health data is encrypted on our servers, therefore only only readable by the user.
We want users to have full control over their data, therefore we’ve made it easy for them to delete and export everything from our app.

With your current knowledge and what you’ve learnt so far, is there any advice would you give yourself back when you were just getting started?

We got a lot of feedback from the users, via surveys and posting on our community on Reddit, however qualitative analysis is not enough. Looking back, we should have done more quantitative analysis and gained more insight into how people were really using the app, as often this is different to how they say they are using it.

Somewhat connected to this, we were also guilty of falling into the “Next feature fallacy”, i.e. that the fallacy that the next feature you add will suddenly make people want to use the entire product. Simply throwing new features at your users will not work if you don’t have an understanding of your user lifecycle.

What is next for Bearable and what are the goals for 2021?

We hope to become the best comprehensive health tracker available. We not only want to help millions of people with chronic health issues to better manage their condition, but we also want to work with research institutions and clinicians to create a separate app specifically for them.
The goal of the Bearable Pro app is to make studies and diagnoses more efficient by making it easier for researchers and clinicians to collect a richer data set from their patients and then manage/interpret this data.
With our user friendly, patient-centric app, we know that we will be able to improvepatient engagement. It’s crazy to think many researchers and clinicians still give their patients paper forms to fill in.

What are some of the top things people seem to be learning about themselves using your app?

Our users are often find that, since tracking their health regularly they actually have more good days than they first thought. In that sense it’s given them a real sense of perspective over their well-being.
Many have also discovered some useful insights using our app, such as correlations between health factors such as medication, sleep, diet, exercise and their physical and mental health. For example one user discovered that the more caffeine they had, the worse their headaches were.
While another user discovered that regular meditation appeared to have a prolonged effect on both increasing their productivity and reducing their anxiety levels.

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